Saturday, December 31, 2016

Bye-bye 2016

The last day of the year seems like a good time to look back and reflect on what the past ride season has brought us. Personally I rode over 1,200 miles. In looking at past years, that's about my non-injury average. This year many of those miles came in one of the three tours I participated in; the Holland Hundred, the Grand Rapids ADA Tour de Cure, and the JDRF Ride for a Cure at Amelia Island. Three tours is the most I've done in several years, so I feel good about that.

Crossing the finish line at Amelia Island.
Participating in the JDRF Amelia Island was great because we set a couple of records. It was the largest JDRF ride ever with 750 riders. It was also the largest peer-to-peer fundraiser JDRF has ever done, raising $3,000,000. That's a chunk of change that will help the doctors and scientists find a cure to Type 1 diabetes even sooner.

This was our 12th year taking part in the JDRF Ride program. When we started Mary was riding a comfort bike and I was on an old (which I still ride) mountain bike. We thought we could do 100 miles on those bikes, even though a 12 mile training ride wiped us out. But a summer of training, an upgrade to road bikes, and the support of Coach Mike Clark and our other teammates helped us accomplish our initial goal. We both completed our first century ride on our first JDRF ride in Death Valley. That was 2005. Where we have come since then is amazing.

We've both ridden thousands and thousands of miles. We taken part in rides all over the country, in places like Lake Tahoe, Vermont, Nashville, and Florida, not to mention seven trips to Death Valley. We've met great people and forged bonds that will last a lifetime. Most importantly we've raised a heck of a lot of money for JDRF. Since we started doing the ride, our family has raised approximately $115,000. Our West Michigan team has raised close to two million dollars.

We sincerely thank everyone who has supported us over the years. We aren't done yet, but one day soon we will take part in the last JDRF Ride for a Cure, because a cure will have been found. And what a finish line celebration that will be.